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2017 CA Bullet Button Laws and Keeping Your AR 15 Legal

2017 CA Bullet Button Laws and Keeping Your AR 15 Legal

If you’ve been following California’s constant legal battle against AR 15 ownership, you’ve probably heard of the bullet button. If you haven’t, let’s break down this legal minefield and the CA bullet button laws: The bullet button was invented to get around California’s “detachable magazine” laws – a set of legislation that outlawed the AR-15 because it had a detachable magazine. The bullet button provided a means of quickly removing one’s magazine without causing the magazine to be labeled as “detachable”. The latest CA assault weapons laws have made this illegal.

New CA Bullet Button Laws Ban the Device

That changed January 1, 2017. Now, firearms that have bullet buttons installed are still considered assault weapons, because those formerly-labeled-fixed magazines are now, once again, considered detachable by the CA DOJ. That means you, the AR 15 owner or builder, must take this into consideration while building and owning your own black rifle in the west coast state.

Let’s look at the revised definition of what an “assault weapon” now is, under California law:

What Makes a California AR 15 an “Assault Rifle”

A rifle that is semiautomatic and centerfire and does not have a fixed magazine but does have any of the following features:

  • Pistol grip
  • Thumbhole stock
  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Grenade or flare launcher
  • Flash suppressor
  • Forward pistol grip

A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, or a semiautomatic, centerfire rifle with an overall length of less than 30 inches is also considered an “assault weapon” in the state of California.

PMAG 10 Round 5.56 Magazine | AR-15 | Black | Magpul

In California, 10 rounds is the max your AR can hold. You can pick up Magpul PMAG 10-rounders to stay legal.

If you want to build a CA-legal AR 15, you’ll need to invest in a CA-compliant lower assembly, or a CA-compliant lower parts kit if you already purchased an 80% lower.

What Makes a California AR pistol an “Assault Weapon”

Because AR 15 pistols can now be considered “assault weapons”, too, there are still considerations you must make if you decide to build or own one in California. We detail how to legally own an AR 15 pistol in California here, but below are the official restrictions.

A semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any of the following is considered an assault weapon:

  • Threaded barrel that can accept a flash suppressor, forward grip, or suppressor
  • Second handgrip of any form
  • Shroud that is attached to the barrel or that covers the barrel, that allows the user to fire the weapon without injury
  • The ability to accept a detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip (like a conventional handgun)
  • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that accepts more than 10 rounds

How to Get Around the Bullet Button Ban

Even though the bullet button no longer protects you from the “fixed magazine required” part of the CA assault weapons laws, there are other ways: The AR MagLock.

ARMagLock - AR-15 Magazine Lock

This nifty little device qualifies your rifle or pistol as a weapon with a fixed magazine, but it still lets you quickly and easily remove your magazines so you can enjoy your AR the way it was intended. If you want to view all the AR 15 parts that’ll make your rifle or pistol stay California-legal, check them out here.


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